Journal article

Taking the absurd seriously

NA Phelps

Progress in Human Geography | SAGE Publications | Published : 2018


A focus on the absurd reveals points of tangency between political economy and humanistic geographical approaches. I argue that capitalism’s contradictions have broadened and deepened absurd phenomenal experiences, the reflexive internalization of which – in processes of reification or self-alienation – has recursive effects on the constitution of societies. The paradoxes mobilized as part of dialectical reason provide a means of taking the absurd seriously in our emotional and intellectual responses to it. These arguments are illustrated with respect to the consumption of stuff. In conclusion, I note how the absurd poses unsettling questions for human geographical theory and praxis.

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